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Fears of revenge and retribution loom as 40 days of mourning following the Beslan hostage seizure nears end
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BESLAN, Russia With 40 days of mourning the school seizure victims about to end, Russians fear an outbreak of violence to avenge the hundreds killed.

Russians traditionally observe 40 days of mourning after a death. Wednesday is the 40th day, and residents of the region where the hostage crisis took place say it could herald an outbreak of interethnic violence in days to come.

Take the case of an ethnic Ossetian man whose niece was among the more than 330 people who died. After Wednesday, he vows, he will bury a rival Ingush to be killed in retribution.

Says another man, "it's not a secret that we are waiting" for the end of the 40 day period. He says if the Ingush don't leave, "there will be war."

Member of the Ingush were among the hostage takers. The Ingush and Ossetians mix uneasily in the Russian Caucasus region.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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